The Gartner Hype Cycle is a well-known graph that provides a helpful way to understand where emerging technology is at and where it’s headed. Each phase of the cycle—from the early breakthroughs of the Innovation Trigger, over the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and finally through to the Plateau of Productivity—shows how new technologies or applications are evolving toward solving real business problems.
Emerging technologies go through a similar cycle of media coverage. Innovative companies in these fields can benefit from working with a PR agency with experience navigating that cycle, one that provides a map to manage the hype, avoid the pitfalls and achieve success.
Generative AI provides a great example of how the media covers a fast-developing technology. When ChatGPT was released to the public in November 2022, stories spiked: How smart is ChatGPT? Will artificial intelligence take our jobs? Will AI become self-aware? This initial rush propels a ton of media interest, even if there aren’t yet any proven, usable products.
At this stage, it’s key for companies to carve out their space in the overall storyline. Narratives that focus on investment and infrastructure are reliable pillars on which to build your point of view. Is your company getting venture capital dollars or investment from established enterprises? Promoting news around a round of funding provides an opening to talk about your company’s vision and clearly define the problem you’re solving. For an emerging space like generative AI, it’s a chance to tell the world what part your company plays in the overall picture and provide context around how it aligns with this new trend.
The next step builds on your company’s vision and begins to highlight practical applications and early successes. Most businesses, particularly in the B2B tech space, do well here by focusing on the tools they provide. Often called the “picks-and-shovels” approach, it’s a nod to the California Gold Rush of the 1800s. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to California, hoping to find gold and strike it rich. A few did, but the real benefactors were the suppliers like Levi Strauss and Wells Fargo, who built companies by selling shovels and other supplies to the miners. For emerging tech companies, that means demonstrating how you’re providing some of the tools — whether that’s chips, batteries, software or something else — that form the foundation of this new movement.
Finally, with a defined vision and proven viability, it’s time to provide validation through adoption and growth. Again, it’s important here not to try to do too much. Your product or service may not have an equal impact on every industry. Start with where you’re having the most success: that could be in cooling data centers that are heating up with the use of generative AI, or it could be allowing enterprise teams to leverage generative AI to create business applications without writing code. Don’t worry about being too specific. There’s always an audience out there, and your PR agency will help you find them. Customer stories, of course, are the real attraction here. Reporters love to be able to show how companies are getting results from new technologies, and it’s a powerful way to demonstrate a company’s value.
Nearly a year after the public launch of ChatGPT, generative AI (and AI in general) remains a dominant topic for business and tech journalists. As the media's fascination with AI persists, the need for a trusted PR guide remains paramount, helping companies cut through the noise and bring their transformative technologies to the forefront of public attention.